This blog chronicles Matthew Staib's progress as he serves an LDS mission over the course of twenty-four months.

You can also read his personal blog at different, defined.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving in Mississippi, and Orange Mound

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! How was it for y'all? For mine, we went down to Mississippi and had it with the Byrd family. The Byrds are part of a giant family, the Allens, that populate a ton of our area in northern Mississippi. It seems like there are 50 people down there from the same family tree. We have a big genealogy list in our room that links them all. It's very hard to keep track of everyone and their relations.

We had dinner with Bonnie Byrd and her children, and parents, I believe. Caleb is her grandson, and he's an investigator. Bonnie is a member, and many extensions of the Allen family are inactive or less-active members. There's lots of work to do in Mississippi.

Our Thanksgiving - or as they say here in the south, THANKSgiving, with the enunciation on the "Thanks" - was pretty crowded. There were maybe 15-20 people there. The food was different from home. Really good overall, just different. We had ham, creamed corn, black-eyed peas, mashed potatoes with chopped deer gizzard and heart gravy, and cherry Koolaid. The desserts were freakin' boss. Someone made this big mixture of thick pudding with crushed Oreos mixed in. And then, the most amazing cake I've ever tasted. It was a strawberry cake. But the frosting had strawberries blended into it, and strawberry juice had been cooked into the cake. Pure magic.

Oh yes, I keep forgetting the week extends back until Tuesday. I was put on exchanges from Tuesday afternoon to Wednesday morning. I was sent to ORANGE MOUND, a really tough place. Walking down the street in a small drizzle, more than half the houses on the streets were boarded up and abandoned. The windows had been shot up.

It was quiet, but I didn't really feel scared. We taught a couple of people, tracted into a few. It was a very productive day. I taught a room full of at least 7 women, ranging from teenagers to an elderly lady, and a couple of men.

It was extremely intimidating, but it ended well. I slept over that night, and went back to Collierville the next morning. I made it back safe from the town where many news reports of shootings take place. Many, many crimes take place there.

Blake is still going through with his baptism well. He's got his fiancee and her family behind him. He's a great guy.

Elder Fry and I are seeing who we can. I've found it's near impossible to tract in rich areas. People say they already have their own faith, and they're happy with it. The work this past week has been slow because everyone is moving around and working. At least that's what we hope. A lot of our potential investigators are hard to get to. We really want to teach them. I'm not sure if our bike week this week will make things better, either. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, hope you guys enjoy your holiday season! It's supposed to snow tomorrow morning here! If that happens, society will shut down. No one can mentally handle frozen rain here in Tennessee.

-Elder Staib

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